The Office of Admissions faced a flood of prospective students for its Monday Feb. 15 Discover Dickinson event, following a record-breaking year for applications that revealed a shift in the demographics of applicants.
The increased number of visiting prospective students was largely a result of high schools closing for President’s Day. Stefanie Niles, vice president for Enrollment, Marketing and Communications, said the office anticipated the increase in visiting families and planned accordingly.
Despite the 116 families registered to visit campus on Monday, the Office of Admissions has noted a decrease in the overall number of visiting students for this school year.
“One theory is that it costs money to travel,” said President Nancy Roseman.
“Families have to decide how they spend… Once acceptances go out, we’ll see if then they decide to look at us.”
Niles confirmed a general tightening of funds among Dickinson’s prospective students, saying that Dickinson has “seen the financial need of our applicants grow each year.” Despite this, application season for the class of 2020 has produced record numbers – Dickinson has received 6,140 applications for the class of 2020.
This year also revealed some shifts in demographic trends. Niles reported “a 15 percent increase in applications from international students, with 92 countries represented, and a seven percent increase in applications from domestic students of color. Domestic applications were submitted from 45 states, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.” She also reported a 16-point increase in the average SAT score of applicants from last year.
Admissions staff has yet to determine the final number of applicants to be admitted. Last year admissions accepted the largest first-year class ever, though this is not a trend admissions wishes to prolong.
“It’s not sustainable. I don’t know what we would do [with another class of that size],” said Roseman. She said that each year Admissions calculates “a complicated math problem that behaves differently every admissions season.” Last year’s number of students who accepted admittance did not follow admission’s predictions. Roseman said it was an “unintentional” result that “Dickinson does not have the infrastructure to support.”
This year’s number of early decision applicants is reportedly down, while early action numbers are up.
“[Admissions] spends hours trying to understand why that is,” said Roseman. “We are trying to predict behavior, while at the same time trying to meet the target in total number and revenue – we depend on that to keep the lights on. There are a lot of moving parts.”